Among the laws made defunct by the amendments are the social security laws at a time when it is becoming evident that these are the meager savings vast sections of the working class have at the time of sudden loss in income.
New Delhi, May 22: Thousands of people from all walks of life, including those from trade union men and women today demonstrated on the roads, in front of houses, before government offices and roof tops and later dispatched a memorandum to President Kovind, asking him to negate the anti-labor acts of state governments.
Civil Society and People’s Movements in India had earlier urged civil society organizations and peoples movements in India to express unconditional solidarity and support to the Central Trade Unions in India as they observe a nationwide protest on May 22, 2020 against the draconian changes in labor laws being brought about by various State Governments in India.
“The working hours have been increased from 8 hours to 12 hours a day and 72 hours a week, which means that workers can be compelled to work for 12 hours every day for six days in a week. Worse, overtime wages have been done away with. This is tantamount to legalizing servitude in its worse form,” the note said.
The movement expressed deep worry about the fact that labor law changes squarely takes away the right of workers to form trade unions, to be associated with them and to represent their cases collectively with the employer or with the governments.
Among the laws made defunct by the amendments are the social security laws at a time when it is becoming evident that these are the meager savings vast sections of the work-force has at the time of sudden loss in income.
“We also understand the need for India pursing a policy of universal social security considering the fact that those countries with robust systems of social protection withstand economic crisis better”.
“We are extremely concerned that these changes are being made while the whole country is going through the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, which is a health emergency situation, which has hugely affected the income of the lives and livelihoods for millions of workers in India,” the statement said
The NGO affirmed that labor rights are embodiment of civil and democratic rights as guaranteed in the Constitution of India and are within India’s commitment to international human rights covenants.
It urged all citizens in the country to support the efforts of trade unions to defend labor rights.
It also urged the Central and State governments to withdraw the changes in labor laws with immediate effect and demanded that no changes should be brought about without consulting trade unions.
The demonstrations were held across the nation, in Delhi, in state capitals and in district headquarters. The unions that took part included AITUC, CITU and BMS, among others.
A MS statement said that sufficient social distancing measures were taken during the protests.